The Gilgit Baltistan Dispute

Chine Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been opposed by many of the prominent political personalities of India since the day this agreement was signed between the two countries. Recently the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, stated that such economic corridors can be successful if they respect the sovereignty of the involved countries.  Later, his foreign secretary confirmed that he was talking about CPEC as it passes through the disputed territory of Gilgit Baltistan.

This territory came under the pre partition Kashmir therefore, just like Kashmir India is of the view that Gilgit Baltistan also comes under its claim. However, this is a completely different dispute from Kashmir because after partition, when the ruler of Kashmir sent a governor to this region, the region scouts revolted against him and requested Pakistan to take control of the area. Pakistan has held the region strongly since then and managed it properly.

Moreover, due to this corridor, India has accused China of taking sides in the Kashmir matter. China’s government has denied such claims and stated that its stance on the Kashmir issue remains neutral. However, India’s issue with CPEC seems to have much more complicated reasons than the Gilgit Baltistan dispute. CPEC has improved Pakistan’s economy to a great extent through its energy generation and developmental projects. This seems to be a problem for India as it is causing the paranoia of Pakistan becoming an economical competitor.

India’s paranoia can be confirmed by its investment decisions for the Chabahar Port of Iran. The Chabahar port is only 175 km away from the Gwadar Port and India has invested 100 million USD in the project just to counterbalance CPEC’s success. However, this attempt failed as further progress on the project couldn’t be continued due to US sanctions in Iran. In addition to this, India is quite accepting of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor, which proves that India is only opposed to CPEC and not the whole Belt and Road Initiative of China.

There are a lot more forces in the play here that are against the progress of CPEC, and the failed attempts of India to halt this project’s progress have pushed these forces to take further steps to slow CPEC down.

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